Few expected the newly reported deaths of 16 pets in the US to further escalate into the latest source of friction in the ever-prickly Sino-US trade ties, the Financial Times reported. The latest announcement build upon a scandal that exploded after the deaths of thousands of pets caused by contaminated feed used in pet food that was eventually tracked back to two Chinese factories. The contamination led to the largest recall of pet food in US history and an eventual recognition of guilt by Beijing. Now, analysts say that US interest groups are using the issue to push an anti-China agenda. Chinese state media has blamed the US media frenzy for the issue, but some Chinese feel the media attention will draw attention to improving Chinese food standards. Beijing has vowed tougher food safety enforcement.